The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced the men’s national squad for the remaining three Tests of the five-match series against England on Saturday with one notable change.
Middle-order batter Shreyas Iyer’s name was missing from the list released by the Indian cricket board, leading fans and cricket pundits to question whether he was dropped or is he injured.
Reports of Back Spasms
There are reports doing the rounds that Iyer experienced back spasms after the Vizag Test but he was cleared for selection, according to ESPNCricinfo.
Another report in the Indian Express claimed that Iyer also complained of a groin injury but there is no official word from the BCCI yet on him.
Since there was no mention of Iyer in the team announcement, it would be safe to assume that the 29-year-old was dropped from the Indian Test squad due to his inconsistent run in the series so far.His reluctance to go back and play domestic cricket in the Ranji Trophy also might have worked against him during the selectors’ meeting.
Inconsistent Run and Recent Scores
Iyer has managed scores of 35, 13, 27 and 29 in the first two Tests. He hasn’t managed to make the No.4 spot his own despite getting a long run over the last few months.
Shreyas Iyer’s last 13 Test innings: 29*, 4, 12, 0, 26, 31, 6, 0, 4, 35, 13, 27, 29.
Iyer replaced former India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane in the Test squad but he hasn’t set the stage on fire yet. The Mumbai batter has played 14 Tests so far and scored just 811 runs at an average of 36.86 with one hundred and five fifties.
Spin Specialist Iyer Struggling Against England Tweakers
All of his fifties have come in the sub-continent and majorly in home conditions. He was picked due to his ability to play spin well but he has been dismissed by the England tweeters Tom Hartley, Rehan Ahmed and Jack Leach in this series.
The Ajit Agarkar-led BCCI selection committee decided to stick with Rajat Patidar instead of Iyer but also overlooked any new contenders for the middle order spot with even Cheteshwar Pujara in the fray after his recent performances in the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2024 where he has scored a double hundred along with a fifty and three 40+ knocks.
KL Rahul Returns Subject to Fitness Test Clearance
KL Rahul’s return is also one of the major reasons why the selectors did not think of anyone else even though his availability for the next Test is subject to him clearing the fitness test. Rahul is nursing a quad strain which is why he had missed the second Test which India won by 106 runs to level the series 1-1.
His return however, bolsters the depleted middle order which is also missing Virat Kohli, who has extended his break and pulled out of the remaining matches due to personal reasons.
Sarfaraz Khan’s Much-Awaited Potential Debut
India therefore, have Shubman Gill, Rahul (if fit) and Patidar in the middle order who will be followed by wicketkeeper KS Bharat ahead of the all-rounders Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin. Jadeja, like Rahul, will play only if he gets cleared by India’s medical team.
Uncapped Sarfaraz Khan might get an opportunity in Rajkot if Rahul misses the cut.
He has been one of India’s most prolific run getters in the last couple of years and has been waiting in the wings for quite some time to make a splash in the international arena after ruling domestic cricket.